Published April 24th, 2012

It’s common for people who come to Maine for a destination wedding to consider renting a tent. This is because there aren’t many venues very close to the water that can accommodate an entire guest list in one room. At French’s Point, we do in fact have a gorgeous reception hall along the water with a capacity of 250, so we don’t see as many tents as some other locations might. But still, for some of our clients, a tent is an important part of their wedding aesthetic.

When considering whether to tent keep in mind that though you might think a tent can save you money, there are quite a few related expenses. After all, most of us will want more than just a tarp thrown over some support poles. You’ll need glassware and linens and tables and chairs, everything that’s required to build a reception space out of nothing. You’ll need people to set-up the tent or, if you choose to do it yourself, you’ll need to factor in that added stress and time. Finally, vinyl and frame tents can require a liner and other creative tricks to dress up the metal frame and that can be expensive.

If you do want to tent, make sure you choose your type of tent carefully. Some tents are made of sailcloth, which breaths very well and which strikes a bright white, nautical profile that looks right at home on the ocean, particularly with the wooden center poles that are reminiscent of ship masts.

If your tent doesn’t breathe, say it’s made of humidity-trapping vinyl, a warm day can make for a sweltering reception. On the other hand, if it rains, water can easily puddle in the center and create a mud trap unless the land is graded and drained properly or you have opted to rent a floor for your tent.

With all of these variables, it’s perhaps no surprise that the price for a tent runs the gamut. Frame tents for 100 guests can be as little as $4,700 for the tent, all related reception rentals, and a DIY set-up, but a Sperry tent with a full floor, installation, and an on-site technician to manage the tent throughout the festivities can cost as much as $15,000.

So, to tent or not to tent? If your answer is yes, remember to choose your tent and your tent company carefully. I love tents, they’re beautiful and a lot of people are drawn to them, but they take a lot of extra effort unless you’re using a really good provider and a really good product.